Tips for Race Week Preparation
Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates during the week of your 10K. Runners tend to cut back on protein and fat and eat more carbohydrates the week of the race. On training days with more intense running, eat smaller, more frequent meals. Try to stay away from high-fiber foods the day before and the day of the race, as these foods may cause an unwanted bathroom break during the race. Consuming a high-carbohydrate meal, such as spaghetti with whole wheat noodles, the night before the race may help prepare your body for the run. Additionally, eating a high-carbohydrate meal three hours before the race and drinking a carbohydrate and electrolyte supplement, such as a sports beverage, during the race may enhance your overall endurance, reports the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
Your body needs adequate rest throughout your training, but particularly the week of your 10K. Cut back your running mileage and decrease your cross-training workouts. A couple of leisurely two- to three-mile runs during the three to seven days before the race will help maintain your endurance and keep your legs loose for race day. Typically, a runner should rest rather than exercise the two days leading up to the race. Get plenty of sleep during the nights leading up to the run for optimal performance.
On race day, you want your muscles to function at their optimal capacity. Warming the muscles prior to the race prepares your body for the impending run. Take a warm shower the morning of the race to start the process. Begin preparing your muscles approximately 30 minutes prior to the race. Start by walking at a fast pace and increase your pace to a leisurely run for 10 minutes. Stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, abductors, obliques and calves for a total of 15 minutes. Finish your race-day warm-up with four 100-meter pick-ups. Your body will be prepared for the stress of the race and seamlessly transition into running the 10K.
Your body needs to remain hydrated continuously throughout your training, especially the week before your 10K. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and other diuretics that can cause your body to become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water, as well as sports or energy drinks that contain electrolytes. Drinking large quantities of water and sweating can cause your sodium levels to drop. Replenishing your body with electrolytes before and during the race will prevent any imbalances and help you perform your best.
Preparing for the Event
Click here for a Beginners Training program for 10K.
Assuming that you’ve the miles clocked up in
preparation for March, be it in the form of
regular walking, running or cycling, it’s safe to
say that you are probably in fine fettle for the
event itself and well hydrated!. It is important
though in the lead up to maintain as healthy a
lifestyle as possible to minimise any aches or
pains you may feel during and/or after the
event. Central to this is of course, to stretch
those muscles as regularly as you can. You
must make time to stretch daily and the best
times for the best stretch is first thing in the
morning and mid-afternoon (don’t stretch last
thing at night!!). Give yourself the time to
stretch slowly and not to rush. Give yourself a
routine to stretch starting with your ‘calf’
muscles, ’hamstrings’, ‘quads’ and ‘gluts’.
Spend 10-15seconds stretching each of these
muscles and do each 3 times. This will enable
those muscles to reach their optimal length
and not be “tight” as you may often hear.
Many athletes focus on lower or leg muscles
but it’s equally as important to stretch upper
body muscles such as your lower and mid
back, biceps and triceps, forearms and neck
muscles. It’s also important not to stretch cold
so spend a minute or 2 jogging on the spot for
instance prior to stretching.
On the day itself, again be warm before
stretching, spend a few minutes just jogging
prior to stretching but this time the stretch on
all those muscles can be fast(5 seconds on
each, 3 times), in order to circulate the blood
through the muscles quicker preparing them
for strenuous exercise! Remember fluid intake
is vital prior to, during and post activity to
keep you and your muscles hydrated and
minimise risk to cramping during the event.
Should you cramp during the event then take
a minute to stop and gently stretch the
affected muscle(s), it’s telling you its tired and
being slightly over worked so reduce your
pace a bit when you get going again!
When you have completed your event, take
an extra few minutes to warm down, this will
help greatly in the recovery of your muscles,
and of course keep getting those fluids in. It
may also be no harm to eat something small